Cooper Flagg reclassifies, will be 2024’s No. 1-ranked recruit with offers from Duke, Kansas, UConn and others

High school basketball phenom Cooper Flagg announced Friday that he is reclassifying to the Class of 2024 after a standout summer performing in front of college coaches and talent evaluators. Flagg was previously a member of the Class of 2025 but is expediting his potential path to the NBA by reclassifying.

With a December 2006 birthday, Flagg is narrowly old enough for the 2025 NBA Draft, and the decision to jump a class will position him to pursue that option. He would need to play college basketball during the 2024-25 season — or otherwise be one year removed from high school — in order to be draft-eligible in 2025 under NBA rules.

A five-star power forward, Flagg ranked No. 2 in the Class of 2025 and will be ranked the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2024, according to 247Sports. The 6-foot-8 Montverde (Florida) Academy star earned MVP honors at Peach Jam in July while leading Maine United to an appearance in the 16u championship game. In the process, he entered the running to become the No. 1 overall prospect in his class.

Duke is considered the favorite to land Flagg, but UConn is also a factor in his recruitment.

Cooper Flagg scouting report
Flagg was turning heads even before he began receiving widespread national attention this summer. He was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Maine as a freshman for a team that won the state championship. Even then, his promise on both ends of the floor was evident. 247Sports director of scouting Adam Finkelstein described Flagg as “an elite two-way prospect.”

“His instincts are off the charts on both ends of the floor and he competes with a quiet type of killer instinct,” Finkelstein wrote. “He’s a defensive standout and particularly dominant as an off-ball defender. In fact, he’s as good of an underclassman shot-blocker as I’ve seen at his size. Offensively, he’s an excellent passer with a good foundation of early skill and developing playmaking ability. His footwork is excellent. His shooting and handling both good and continuously improving. He doesn’t necessarily need to be the focal point on that end of the floor, but he’s shown he’s plenty capable of it. Physically, frame’s Flagg is solid enough to absorb contact now and will only add additional muscle mass in the coming years.”

Potential implications for Duke
If Flagg winds up committing to Duke, which is favored to land him by the 247Sports Crystal Ball, it would merely be the latest splash for second-year coach Jon Scheyer. The Blue Devils just welcomed the No. 2 ranked class to campus for the 2023-24 season after putting together a solid 2022-23 campaign with a freshman-heavy roster.

Five-star wing Isaiah Evans and four-star wing Darren Harris are already committed to the Blue Devils’ 2024 class. Adding Flagg to that group would position Duke to land another top-three class as Scheyer continues finding his footing while replacing the legendary Mike Krzyzewski.

Dallas Mavericks become jersey sponsor for Dallas Wings

The Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Wings announced a historic partnership Sunday afternoon that would make the Mavericks the jersey sponsor for the Wings. The deal makes the Wings the first team in the WNBA to agree to a jersey sponsorship with an NBA team.

The jersey patch will feature the Mavericks logo, as well as the “Girls Empowered by Mavericks” or GEM logo, which is a program created by the NBA team. The program was created to “inspire and empower young females through the use of physical activity as a backdrop to their development and success,” per the team’s joint statement.

“The Mavericks have worked hard to build the best youth-focused programming in the NBA,” Wings President & CEO Greg Bibb said in the team’s statement. “We are incredibly proud to partner with their organization to extend and expand the GEM program’s reach throughout North Texas. We are grateful to Cynt Marshall, Mark Cuban and the Mavericks leadership for their commitment to this innovative sponsorship and we look forward to working with them to empower girls through the sport of basketball.”

The logo will begin to appear on the Wings jerseys as early as the team’s Sunday afternoon game against the Chicago Sky.

“The Dallas Mavericks are proud to work alongside our local WNBA team, the Dallas Wings, to further the empowerment of young girls in North Texas,” Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall said. “We see GEM participants as the talent pool to represent future women in sports, business and other careers, and we are emboldened to move the needle towards female representation and equality.”

In addition to the jersey sponsorship, players and coaches on the Wings will also take part in GEM programs which includes basketball camps to help girls across North Texas.

With the Wings becoming the first team in the W to receive a jersey sponsorship from an NBA team, it could open the door for more partnerships like this in the future.

Clippers star on pace to be ready for start of training camp

Kawhi Leonard is on pace to be ready for the start of training camp, Los Angeles Clippers coach Tyronn Lue told the media on Sunday during a conversation with reporters in Las Vegas, where he’s working with Team USA ahead of the 2023 FIBA World Cup later this month.

After two spectacular performances in Games 1 and 2 against the Phoenix Suns in the team’s first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns last season, Leonard was ruled out with a knee injury that was later revealed to be a torn meniscus. He did not play in the final three games of the series, and the Clippers lost all three en route to a five-game defeat.

In June, Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank announced that Leonard had undergone a procedure on his knee.

“Just a cleanup, went terrific,” Frank said after the 2023 NBA Draft. “Very quick procedure. He feels great. Eight-week recovery from time of surgery where you are back on the court playing like it was a game. We are very fortunate that it was just a quick little cleanup.”

That timeline suggested that Leonard would be ready for the start of the season, and now Lue has confirmed that not only will his star forward be ready for opening night, he’ll be in action for training camp. That is terrific news for a Clippers team that has been besieged by injuries in recent seasons.

Since Leonard signed with the Clippers in free agency in 2019, he has played in 161 of a possible 308 regular season games and suffered season-ending injuries in both the 2021 and 2023 playoffs. Meanwhile, Paul George, who also joined in 2019, has played just 189 regular season games in that time.

As a result, the Clippers’ performances have fallen well short of expectations. They made the Western Conference finals in 2021, but have won just three total playoff series with that duo and also blew a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the second round in 2020 when both of them were actually healthy.

Both Leonard and George possess player options for the 2024-25 season, and could opt out to become free agents next summer. There’s a real possibility that this is the last go-around for this group, which makes it imperative that they remain healthy. Leonard and George both being ready for training camp will be a good start on that front, but whether they can both make it through an entire playoff run is the key question.